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Foothill League Kicks Up Its Heels

May 19, 2000|DAVE DESMOND

The Marmonte League has long been recognized as the region's best softball league, but the Foothill has made a strong argument for the honor this season.

The six Foothill teams combined for a 97-56 overall record and .634 winning percentage, better than the 106-81 mark and .567 winning percentage of the seven-team Marmonte.

Apparently, none of that impressed the Southern Section, which invited four Marmonte League teams to the playoffs, but awarded only one automatic berth to the Foothill.

That went to league champion Hart (22-5). Second-place Valencia (18-9) and Canyon (16-10), which tied Burbank for third place, were forced to play wild-card games on Wednesday to qualify for the first round, which begins today.

Burbank did not receive a playoff berth.

"I thought we were highly regarded," Coach Donna Lee of Valencia said. "But evidently we were not."

Part of the reason for Burbank's snub is an overcrowded Division II, which is based on enrollment.

If Burbank (16-7) had 71 fewer students, the Bulldogs would have been in the more sparsely populated Division III, where Newbury Park (18-11) and Westlake (16-11) compete.

The Foothill League still has an opportunity to prove its worth.

Valencia, which routed San Marcos, 9-0, on Wednesday, travels to Marmonte runner-up Simi Valley (18-8) for an intriguing matchup.

Simi Valley, with freshman pitcher Mandy Kilionski, is one of the hottest teams in the region and recently upset top-seeded Cerritos and No. 4-seeded Thousand Oaks.

Another Marmonte-Foothill matchup could occur in the quarterfinals between league champions Thousand Oaks (22-5) and Hart.

Those teams were supposed to meet two weeks ago for third place in the Thousand Oaks tournament, but the game was canceled by mutual agreement of the coaches because of a conflict with Thousand Oaks' prom.

*

Two area coaching icons retired within five days, bowing out earlier than they would have liked.

Ron Hilton of Saugus, who won more than 350 games in 19 seasons, saw his Centurions fail to reach the playoffs for the first time since 1984.

Neils Ludlow of El Camino Real, who won 310 games in 16 seasons, lost in the City Championship semifinals, ending a four-year streak of reaching the final. The Conquistadores played 12 City finals under Ludlow, winning 10.

*

Canyon (16-10) travels to No. 2-seeded Crescenta Valley (26-1) for a Division II opener today, one of several rematches.

On March 14, Crescenta Valley outlasted the Cowboys, 1-0, in 14 innings. Meredith Cervenka of the Falcons struck out 20 in that game.

Canyon players didn't learn of the rematch until Coach Krista Humphreys told them after their 1-0 wild-card victory over Lancaster on Wednesday.

"There were a few cheers," Humphreys said. "We respect them. [Cervenka] completely shut us down, but I think some of them are looking forward to the opportunity."

Count sophomore pitcher Jen Henderson among them.

"We want revenge," she said.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

SOUTHERN SECTION SOFTBALL PLAYOFFS

FIRST-ROUND MATCHUPS

Today

Division I

Alhambra at Camarillo

Arcadia at Highland

Glendale at Arroyo Grande

Division II

Quartz Hill at Hart

Buena at Thousand Oaks

Rio Mesa at Mira Costa

Hueneme at Righetti

Valencia at Simi Valley

Canyon at Crescenta Valley

Division III

Westlake at Atascadero

Newbury Park at Charter Oak

Division IV

Chaminade at Notre Dame Academy

Alemany at Lompoc Cabrillo

Bonita at La Canada

Oak Park at Ridgecrest Burroughs

El Segundo at Calabasas

Ocean View at Harvard-Westlake

Division V

Lancaster Desert at La Reina

Paraclete at Ontario Christian

Kern Valley at Village Christian

St. Bonaventure at Providence

Crossroads at Santa Maria St. Joseph

Division VI

LA Lutheran at Capo. Valley Christian

Faith Baptist 21, Cuyama Valley 0

GH Hillcrest Christian at SM Valley Christian

Viewpoint at Cornerstone Christian

Cate at Montclair Prep

Maricopa at Santa Clarita Christian

Grace Brethren at Pioneer Baptist

All Games at 3:15 p.m.

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